Chris Hemsworth prioritizes his health. In an interview with Vanity Fair published on November 18, the Marvel actor said that he will be taking a break from acting after learning that he had genes that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the site, he discovered two copies of the gene APOE4, one from each of his parents, after undergoing genetic tests while filming his new Disney+ reality program Limitless, which the National Institute of Aging labels the “strongest risk factor gene for Alzheimer’s disease.” Hemsworth’s grandpa has been diagnosed, showing how serious his danger is.
“Since we finished the show, I’ve been completing the things I was already contracted to do,” he said. “Now when I finish this tour this week, I’m going home and I’m going to have a good chunk of time off and just simplify. Be with the kids, be with my wife.”
Hemsworth, who shares a 10-year-old daughter India and 8-year-old twin sons Tristan and Sasha with their wife Elsa Pataky, said that finding out he has the gene made him realize how much time he was missing with his family due to his work schedule.
“Doing an episode on death and facing your own mortality made me go, ‘Oh God, I’m not ready to go yet,” he said.
“Then you start talking about kids and family and going, ‘Oh my God, they’re getting older, they’re growing up and I keep slapping another movie on top of another movie.’ Before you know it, they’re 18 and they’ve moved out of the house, and I missed the window.”
Hemsworth’s doctor warned him in the episode that the APOE4 gene puts him eight to ten times more likely to acquire Alzheimer’s. The actor, however, took care not to embellish the issue or make it appear like he had been diagnosed.
“I was offered a version of the episode where we didn’t talk about it,” he revealed. “I thought, ‘No, look if this is a motivator for people to take better care of themselves and also understand that there are steps you can take—then fantastic.’
My concern was that I just didn’t want to manipulate it, overdramatize it, and make it into some sort of hokey grab at empathy or whatever for entertainment.”
While he is taking a break from acting, Hemsworth will be back on the big screen soon, since he has already finished filming Netflix’s Extraction sequel and the Mad Max: Fury Road prequel Furiosa. As Hemsworth himself stated, “It’s not like I’ve been handed my resignation.”
Instead, he’s using this information about his health to prioritize what matters to him and encourages viewers to do the same.
“You don’t know when your time’s up, you don’t know what tomorrow holds,” he said. “Whether or not any of this information helps you live longer, it’s about living better right now. Whatever you do right now to benefit your future self is having a huge benefit in your current self.”